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Interdisciplinary Research Centre
Launch of the challenge to decarbonise our everyday lives Programme 2022

Competition launch for potgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers to submite scalable ideas to decarbonise activities in our everyday lives.


Are you a problem solver who thrives on challenge? Do you want to take action on climate change? The Cambridge Carbon Challenge is an initiative for student and staff teams to develop ideas to decarbonise our everyday lives!

For this year’s Carbon Challenge, Cambridge Zero has partnered with Carbon13, Energy IRC and Cambridge Enterprise to provide the opportunity for teams of postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers to develop their own scalable solutions to facilitate/and or accelerate energy transitions which affect most of us almost every day. The challenge empowers you to find, develop and collaborate on ideas which help tackle the climate crisis and drive positive change!


Who is the Challenge is for? 

  • Teams (2–3 people) of postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers (see eligibility section below for more detail). You don’t need to be a seasoned entrepreneur. 
  • You don’t need to be a scientist or engineer to participate. We’re also interested in ideas related to economic, societal, and behavioural change that could lead to reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.


What does the Challenge involve? 

  • We’re interested in ideas that are in their initial conceptual stages, rather than fully formed projects or products.

  • The Challenge is also a learning opportunity in entrepreneurship, with the potential to translate into a business opportunity.  


What problems do we want you to solve? 

The focus of the carbon challenge is on finding solutions to facilitate and/or accelerate energy transitions that affect most of us almost every day, including:

  • How we travel
  • What we eat
  • How we use power 
  • How we spend and invest our money


Monetary prizes will be awarded for those in first place (£1,500), and two runners-up (£750). Prizes will be shared evenly between all team members. For exceptionally tractable proposals, there may be opportunities to engage further with Carbon13 and their Venture Builder or for ideas to be implemented in the University itself as a pilot study.

For more details on the challenge, eligibility and T&Cs please read the full brief here.

Key January Dates:

  • Monday 24 January 2022 - Ideas Jam
    A chance to hear from academic experts and entrepreneurs, generate some ideas, and meet potential team-mates. Sign up here.
  • Thursday 27 January 2022 - Pub Social
    Meet other participants and form teams. Eagle Pub, Cambridge. Sign up here.
  • Monday 31 January 2022 - Concept note training session with Q&A
    including how to evaluate your ideas potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions (non-compulsory but highly recommended). This session will be recorded. Sign-up link circulated nearer the time.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Original Cambridge Zero webpage.